Stella Trattoria & Bar opened in Blue Point in June and is dishing out an authentic Italian menu with a modern twist. Owner Jack Martino’s secret for success comes from a cookbook of endless Italian recipes left behind by his mother.
“[The] foundation of our menu started back in 1970 from my mother and all the recipes are still in place. The ingredients are [the same], nothing but quality: extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed San Marzano tomatoes, imported Italian pasta and fresh spices.”
Martino has been in the restaurant business for more than 46 years and has three other eateries operating under a single well-known brand: “The Original” Mama’s Italian Restaurant. After being in semi-retirement for nearly 20 years, he thought it was time to change things up a bit.
“It’s called a trattoria for a reason. It’s not a restaurant, per se. It’s a casual place you can come in and have a nice brick-oven pizza, or you can sit down and have a veal chop. The menu allows you to do that.”
Located where Nicolls Road empties into Montauk Highway, Stella Trattoria & Bar is nestled between its spacious parking lot and brick-covered patio, which hugs the indoor bar seating about 16 guests. The main dining area is complete with a grand piano for local pianists to entertain crowds on Friday and Saturday nights.
The menu is just as entertaining. It includes an array of pizzette, appetizers and salads, including the Stella, which is made up of chopped shrimp, string beans, bacon, shaved red onion, fresh tomatoes, lemon and vinaigrette. Another crowd-pleaser is the linguine fresh clam (available in white or red sauce), served with chopped and whole clams either in garlic and oil, marinara sauce or fra diavolo for a heated twist. The veal chop topped with shallots, shiitake mushrooms, fresh tomatoes in a marsala sauce has also been an early favorite.
At “Apertivo Happy Hour,” Stella Trattoria & Bar offers its customers a “place to sit and relax” at its bar stocked with a 16-bottle Cruvinet, a temperature-controlled wine system designed to preserve wines after they’ve been uncorked. The happy-hour menu offers guests a selection of $5 wines and $7 cocktails.
Stella Trattoria & Bar is planning a brunch menu, and Martino mentioned he’s expecting to introduce a new musical vibe into the mix for his guests.
“This one brought me out of retirement, only because of the location. I believe that the people in the area work hard and they play hard. The majority of my customers are business owners; people that enjoy a good meal, a good atmosphere and good music.”